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Transgenic quail as a model for research in the avian nervous system: A comparative study of the auditory brainstem

Authors

  • Armin H. Seidl,

    1. Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195
    2. Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195
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    • The first five authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Jason Tait Sanchez,

    1. Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195
    2. Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195
    Current affiliation:
    1. Dr. Sanchez's current address is Knowles Hearing Center, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University, Frances Searle Building, 2240 Campus Drive. Evanston, IL 60208
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    • The first five authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Leslayann Schecterson,

    1. Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195
    2. Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195
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    • The first five authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Kathryn M. Tabor,

    1. Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195
    2. Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195
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    • The first five authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Yuan Wang,

    1. Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195
    2. Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195
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    • The first five authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Daniel T. Kashima,

    1. Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195
    2. Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195
    Current affiliation:
    1. D.T. Kashima's current address is Vanderbilt School of Medicine, 215 Light Hall, Nashville, TN 37232
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  • Greg Poynter,

    1. Biological Imaging Center, Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125
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  • David Huss,

    1. Biological Imaging Center, Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125
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  • Scott E. Fraser,

    1. Biological Imaging Center, Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125
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  • Rusty Lansford,

    1. Biological Imaging Center, Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125
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  • Edwin W. Rubel

    Corresponding author
    1. Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195
    2. Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195
    3. Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195
    • Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center, University of Washington, Box 357923, Seattle, WA 98195-7923
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Abstract

Research performed on transgenic animals has led to numerous advances in biological research. However, using traditional retroviral methods to generate transgenic avian research models has proved problematic. As a result, experiments aimed at genetic manipulations on birds have remained difficult for this popular research tool. Recently, lentiviral methods have allowed the production of transgenic birds, including a transgenic Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica) line showing neuronal specificity and stable expression of enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) across generations (termed here GFP quail). To test whether the GFP quail may serve as a viable alternative to the popular chicken model system, with the additional benefit of genetic manipulation, we compared the development, organization, structure, and function of a specific neuronal circuit in chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) with that of the GFP quail. This study focuses on a well-defined avian brain region, the principal nuclei of the sound localization circuit in the auditory brainstem, nucleus magnocellularis (NM), and nucleus laminaris (NL). Our results demonstrate that structural and functional properties of NM and NL neurons in the GFP quail, as well as their dynamic properties in response to changes in the environment, are nearly identical to those in chickens. These similarities demonstrate that the GFP quail, as well as other transgenic quail lines, can serve as an attractive avian model system, with the advantage of being able to build on the wealth of information already available from the chicken. J. Comp. Neurol.5–23, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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